- a person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of another following the latter’s death.
- (in common law) a person who inherits all the property of a deceased person, as by descent, relationship, will, or legal process.
- Civil Law.a person who legally succeeds to the place of a deceased person and assumes the rights and obligations of the deceased, as the liabilities for debts or the possessory rights to property.
- a person who inherits or is entitled to inherit the rank, title, position, etc., of another.
- a person or group considered as inheriting the tradition, talent, etc., of a predecessor.
verb (used with object)
- Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. to inherit; succeed to.
- civil law the person legally succeeding to all property of a deceased person, irrespective of whether such person died testate or intestate, and upon whom devolves as well as the rights the duties and liabilities attached to the estate
- any person or thing that carries on some tradition, circumstance, etc, from a forerunner
- an archaic word for offspring
c.1300, from Anglo-French heir, Old French oir “heir, successor,” from Latin heredem (nominative heres) “heir, heiress” (see heredity). Heir apparent (late 14c.) has the French order of noun-adjective, though it was not originally so written in English. It is the heir of one still alive whose right is clear. After death the heir apparent becomes the heir-at-law.